Montagu William Douglas

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Montagu William Douglas  

Lt. Col Montagu William Douglas CSI, CIE. (1863 - February 1957) was a British soldier and colonial administrator in India. As the Assistant District Commissioner in the Punjab, he investigated the attempted murder allegation made by Henry Martyn Clark against Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement. Ahmad later declared him to be the "Pilate of our time", superior to the original.

In February 1884, he joined the 1st Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment, switching to the Indian army in 1887. He was promoted to captain in 1895.

Douglas was appointed Deputy Commissioner in 1899, and was promoted to Major on 6 February 1902. He was on the executive committee for the Coronation Durbar at Delhi in 1903. From 1910-1913 he was Deputy Commissioner of the Lylpur District. He then served as Chief Commissioner of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands from 1913–1920.

Douglas was honoured as Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in 1903 and as Companion of the Order of the Star of India (CSI) in 1919.

In his retirement he was an advocate of Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship and wrote The Earl of Oxford as “Shakespeare”; an outline of the case (1931). In 1928 he became president of The Shakespeare Fellowship, after the death of its founder George Greenwood. He held the post until 1945. Douglas advocated a "group theory" of Shakespeare authorship with Oxford as the "master mind". In Lord Oxford and the Shakespeare Group (1952) he expanded his theory, asserting that Oxford's fellow-contributors were Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, the Earl of Derby, John Lyly and Robert Greene.  According to James S. Shapiro, Douglas also believed that "Queen Elizabeth had entrusted Oxford to oversee a propaganda department that would produce patriotic plays and pamphlets".

In his later life he was a noted advocate of the Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship and was president of the Shakespeare Fellowship for many years. He also painted and was among amateurs exhibited at the Royal Academy.

He was born in Mauritius to Edward Douglas, (1831–1867), a descendant of the 1st Earl of Queensberry and Annie Arbuthnot, (b. 1831). Edward was Assistant Colonel Secretary, Mauritius

In 1891, Douglas married Helen Mary Isabelle Downer (b. 1863). They had three children, Edward Montagu Douglas (b. 1891), Major Archibald Stair Montagu Douglas, MM, (1897–1974)(1), and Helen Elizabeth Douglas (b. 1893).

He died on Sunday 24th February. The funeral took place at Golders' Green on Thursday 28th February. The place of internment has yet to be identified.

He was sometime resident at 52 The Drive, Hove, Sussex and at 85 Coleherne Court, London SW5.

1. Elsewhere, I record that Archibald was living with a Corrie Douglas at time he committed suicide in New Malden (Kingston) in 1974


Sources for this article include:

• List of Rulers Provinces British India
• India Office Library and Records
• Fazal Malik, who plans to write a biography

 Any contributions will be gratefully accepted


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Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024